This is interesting. At the time of writing we had been on the road for 17 days (only and was already becoming clear that we are travelling in an almost "Animal Farm" type bubble. We seem to have created our own form of micro-environment and have thus far split into 4 groups which I will categorize as boys, girls, girls that can't tolerate snoring and the Aussies.
The guys are very straightforward and all inclusively party, enjoying the experience. Some are more sensible than others and it seems that they all look out for each other. They are a great bunch, no hang-ups with, hopefully, great friendships forming.
On the other hand the girls that cannot tolerate snoring and the other girls seem a tad more complex, forming smaller groups. I remember from my own school days and observing my daughters/granddaughters and great-granddaughters that girls form friendships, fall out and move on to other friendships. Will this be the same? Only time will tell.
The Aussies consist of two boys and a girl who have known each other for years and because we have sometimes been allocated 4 bedded rooms another girl has been drawn into their group. They all fit together perfectly, are good fun, straightforward and easy to get along with and very personable. No sweat there then mates!
The interesting thing is that when we boarded the Trans-Sinerian Express on the train all inhibitions disappeared. Within a couple of hours of departure a few bottles of vodka had been consumed and everyone was very merry. I went to lunch with a few of the ladies. We had 3 bottles of champagne (£7.50) and a bottle of white wine. Very refined! Until it was time to pay the bill. Pat T and I had paid our food bill and given Michele (our esteemed leader) our share of the champagne money It deteriorated into chaos.
Basically, everyone was too “exhausted and tired” to make much sense and then a very helpful, but very drunk English speaking Russian who’s father had been an Army officer in the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, decided to help! It then deteriorated even further until the restaurant was finally closed. I had the funniest time.
Then we had a 27 minute stop at one of the stations at which everyone could take a break, stretch their legs and buy food from station vendors etc. Our group got off the train in their t-shirts and flip flops in sub-zero temperatures and hauled each other around on trolleys. The local population was very bemused, called the cops who advised that it was inappropriate to cause local consternation.
And this all on day one! We heard later that the Russians had in fact been soldiers, out of uniform in a restaurant that was out of bounds to them fraternising with foreigners. Rumour has it that they were severely punished. One of them was even beaten. But you can’t believe all you hear.
To read the unfolding journey click on the side bar “Retired and Crazy epic adventure!”
Bob Hope - "A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it."
9 hours ago